Food. We all love it and for those of us who are #FatKidsForever, like myself, it’s really hard to stay away from it. To be honest, if I knew what I know now back when I was in high school and college, things would probably be a lot different. I’m sure I would look at food a lot differently and I would be more mindful of the things I put into my body and indulge in. Now we are here, working to heal ourselves from the inside out, starting with gut health — staying away from all the things.
With Hashimoto’s there are things that you may or may not be advised to say away from, primarily because they are known to irritate the thyroid and can cause fares, etc.. This, of course depends on your tolerance and how your body responds. The list begins with alcohol, nightshades, caffeine, and gluten. Those are the basics, just to start really. There’s so many other things to watch out for, but again, it depends on your body and any advice/support from your medical team.
One of the first things you’ll hear more often than not is that gluten is the d e v i l and you should eliminate it ASAP. Frankly, this freaked me out. Because I’m like, what in the h e double hockey sticks?! I llloooovvveeee pb&j’s, breakfast bagels, french toast, PIZZA and all things doughy. So how in the world do I even begin to remove it? At first I seriously felt like I was starving myself, but it’s really because I just needed to change habits and get creative. I promise it’s not so bad now, and there are more gluten free options available than one may think.
Recently I had a friend ask, if you’re going to start a gluten free journey, where should one begin?
Honestly, I thought it was a really great question and decided to turn to my facebook group “Gluten Sensitive, Intolerant and Celiacs” and ask the same question. This is what we all came up with (in no particular order):
1. Find a support partner. Someone who understands the frustrations and will be an encouragement. 2. Make a list of all the GF foods you can eat or are willing to try. This will give you a good place to start. 3. Check your seasonings. Some of them do contain gluten. If you find yourself cooking more at home than before, this will be really important for you. 4. When in doubt — don’t eat it! Sometimes the pain really isn’t worth it. Eating out will be a challenge, every single time. Always speak up for yourself and even ordering off of a GF menu reiterate your allergy/sensitivity. 5. Be patient, you will mourn having to change your diet. Remember that it’s okay and will get easier. 6. Cut out processed foods unless labeled gluten free. Also be sure to check the ingredients just in case. Be mindful that it will say gluten free, but may have been made in a factory that handles other gluten products. This can be huge depending on if you have Celiac or if you are just sensitive. 7. Snacks. Always have snacks in your purse/pocket or wherever. You never know when hunger will strike. To prevent from anyone feeling your hangry wrath, this may be a life saver. 8. Drink lots of water. Like, a lot more than you ever did before. It will help. 9. Throw away anything in your house that isn’t gluten free. It will help prevent the temptations. (again, the pain isn’t worth it) 10. The biggest one to know – Focus on different kinds of whole foods rather than gluten free substitutes. Typically what they lack in gluten, they’ll more than likely be filled with other crap.
There’s so much more to the process of going gluten free, but I wanted to share the biggest things we’ve all come to learn while on our own journey.
I think the biggest struggle for me personally, beyond changing the foods I eat, was to give myself permission to not feel bad about my decisions. Sometimes I feel like it’s more of a burden to those around me to be gluten free than it is to just keep my mouth shut and take my chances. A few bad flares and trust me, I’ve learned my lesson. Sure, I still have moments when I slip up, but then I get right back into things once I’ve given myself time to recover from it.
There are so many things to help starting this journey. I received a gluten free magazine from my bestie MelRod and ordered myself the AIP Cookbook for Hashimoto’s. I plan to share some of the things I’ve cooked along with the recipe for you to try it yourself in the months to come. But I encourage you to go out and find things to help give you ideas, to help inform you on steps to take. Don’t just take my word for it, be sure to do your own research.
I hope this helps you or someone close to you. It’s all new, it’s all life changing and it’s all a lot to take in. I know, we know and you know it to. Just take your time, ease yourself into it and I promise, you’ll start to feel better soon.
Keep your head up darling, right now it really isn’t you per se. It’s the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
Today was a visit back to my ENT surgeon, Dr. R., to receive the results from the barium swallow test I completed just before Thanksgiving. (See “The Prep Work” blog post)
To be honest, today was another day to be let down by my own body. Like jeeesssussss, can’t a girl just catch a break? Ever since we discovered that my body is attacking my thyroid, I swear they find something new that’s wrong with me every time I check in. This time, I didn’t even realize that this was even a potential issue. I haven’t really noticed any different symptoms and frankly outside of all the things that I experience because of my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis meaning I’m forever in pain or constantly tired, as my new normal, I truly haven’t noticed anything else.
Well, maybe it’s because I’m so consumed by the autoimmune issue that I’m not paying enough attention to everything else? Who knows at this point.
I say this because the results revealed that I have what is called Hiatal Hernia. The test also revealed that I have damage and inflammation to my esophagus due to acid reflux.
So what does that all mean you ask? Well, here’s the cliff notes version: Hiatal Hernia is a condition where part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm. Your diaphragm is the thin muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and helps keep acid from coming up into your esophagus. With hiatal hernia, it’s much easier for the acid to come up. Essentially it enters through an opening where the esophagus passes on its way to the stomach.
From what I’ve found it’s more common than not, affecting around 200,000 people a year and doesn’t necessarily require treatment. Some are treated with drugs and a few types/cases actually require surgery.
I personally fall into the drug category. I’ve been advised to take two separate acid reflux meds 3 times daily for the next 3 to 6 months. I go back to Dr. R. in 8 weeks for a check in and potentially another test to see if treatment is successful. If they learn that nothing has changed, I’ll be referred to a Gatroenterologist for further assistance.
Great, another doctor.
Y’all, I’m currently shaking my damn head right now because I realized that I’m slowly building up my own team of doctors. Think about it: Dr. M & Dr. A — my PCP’s in an internal medicine group office Dr. C — my new endocrinologist Dr. R — my ENT surgeon … and let’s not forget David. He’s my pharmacist and he’s pretty cool.
So what’s next? How do you try to help the healing process?
Throughout this new stage of my life, where I feel like I quite literally am a human experiment/pin cushion/bubble girl, I’m learning that getting back to yoga will be more beneficial for me rather than going hard at the gym and intermittent fasting. A few years ago I started a yoga journey and would practice daily. I noticed a drastic and beautiful change within my body. It was probably the best shape I had ever been in physically and mentally. I fell off of it because I started to get into running and hitting the gym more. Then that just stopped completely. So there’s that.
With this new diagnosis/ailment — I need to reconsider getting back into it. Rather, I really just need to do it. To be honest, my love for yoga never really went away. It’s by far the most relaxing and rewardingly beautiful exercise. Looking more into this hernia business but also finding ways to help ease my daily struggles with Hashimoto’s, yoga seems to be the golden ticket.
The trick is learning what is safe to move through versus what isn’t. Did you know that Inversions where once my jam? Really, I swear. By inversions I mean headstands and handstands. Doing one a day once I woke up and worked through a morning routine would jump start my day and lets not forget the ab and shoulder muscles I developed. Because whoa dang… ya girl was fit. I say all of that because if you too find yourself diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, do your research on exercises that can help as well as exercises to avoid. Also know that by exercising with hiatal hernia you can potentially lose weight and also improve symptoms at the same time.
Looking into things, I found ones that can help: walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and gentle or modified yoga just skip the inversions. The key is to avoid strain on the abdominal area, it’s important. So scratch anything that is a bridge pose, forward fold, headstand or handstand. I promise, it’s for your own safety.
There’s so much change that will occur this year and most of it will be healing. Healing of my gut, my mind and really just my entire body. I hope you stick with me and hopefully my experiences I’m sharing with you will help you heal too.
Until next time my darling, just remember perhaps it isn’t you per se, but actually it is and the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
PS. Hug your fellow Thyroid Warrior, I promise they’re fighting more battles than you’ll ever know about. January is #ThyroidAwarenessMonth
It’s here. The year 2020. Although it’s crazy to think about it, reality is it is here. If you let it, it will be a beautiful start to a new decade.
For most, new years resolutions are a thing. Whether or not folks stick to them is a different story, but at least folks start with an idea, make a plan and put it into action. Being consistent is something entirely different — we can all agree… right?
For the past few years, I’ve never set “resolutions”. I’ve called them “intentions“. Typically they are intentions of being more present, being a better human, a better friend/sister/daughter/auntie, being better with maintaining my health, or being better at trying something new and stepping out of my comfort zone. This year is no different, but more of an emphasis on my health, and this is why…
On Christmas day, my family and I suffered a great loss at the unexpected death of my cousin, Fanta. Getting the call that morning and then later learning details as the day went on made for a day of constant heart break. Learning of her passing left me speechless, stunned, confused… you name it. Then being in contact with the fam all day getting more details as they rolled in my heart just sank and broke even more. Not to mention, my grandma was back in the hospital over Christmas and that night I had to break it to her that her niece had unexpectedly passed. Now THAT just killed me.
Honestly, her death and the new year is what prompted me to write this.
For the 2020 year, I hope you start with intentions and that you be better. Be better with your health. Be better with yourself. Be better with your time. Be better with loving yourself but also with loving those around you.
My cousin was 40 years old and leaves behind her amazing mother (my Aunt P), and three beautiful children. My cousins death was a wake up call to all of us. I think most of us are still confused, are still trying to understand how this happened or even why it happened. The fact is, it happened and it happened to her and from this, all we can do is be better.
For the past week and a half I’ve also been sick, without a voice. This past Monday, I went to the doctor in hopes to find relief, and Dr. M informed me I have bronchitis but there isn’t a way to tell if my voice issues was because of it or my Hashimoto’s. So 6 day steroid regimen it is… and on day three we are here. Still without a voice but at least breathing a little better and no stuffiness in the face.
Friendly reminder: ‘Tis the season y’all — WASH YOUR HANDS!
With the loss of my cousin and getting sick again, I’ve been slapped in the face with so many signs it’s time for me to listen. I need to be better. I need to be better about taking my supplements and meds. I need to be better about exercising, or at least trying to so my body can heal and get stronger. I need to be better about protecting my peace and not stretching myself so thin. I need to be better with myself and my autoimmune disease. I just need to be better.
Saying all of this, my hope for you going into 2020 that you set your intentions and that you work to become better. Better in every sense of the word as it pertains to all areas of your life, and put an emphasis on your health.
Having Hashimoto’s isn’t fatal, I know that and hope you do to. I think having an autoimmune disease does force you to look at things a little differently but you also experience things a little differently because of our body’s response system. Having this makes me want to be more cognizant of what else my body is trying to tell me that is broken. It makes me want to work as hard as I can to reverse it, if possible. Our health should be our number one priority and outside of God (or whatever faith you decide to follow), nothing should disturb that. Nothing should get in the way of that. Our time here matters, our presence in our family matters, our existence on this earth matters. Be better at remembering that daily and watch your behaviors change.
My cousin was amazing, really one of the dopest humans you’ll ever meet. Her spirit was contagious, she was hilarious and the sweetest soul. It’s weird to know our family is starting 2020 like this, in pain, but I think one of the blessings she left us with was the message to be better. For so many reasons, just be better.
So my friends, here’s to being better in 2020. I want all good things for you in health, family, wealth and in your soul. As for your body, well… perhaps it’s not you per se, but actually it is and the autoimmune disease that is taking over. <– Let’s set an intention for 2020 for you to take control and make that shit dormant (smiles & winks)!
I’d like to start this blog post off by telling you I’m fine. For everything you’re about to read below, please don’t be alarmed. The entire purpose of this blog site/platform that I’m slowly building is to let people know what it feels like to thrive and survive in this. Not every post will be roses and sunshine, but also know that every other post won’t be dark and worry-some. This is all just my experience I’m wanting to share with the world because I believe there are people out there that are feeling these same things but just don’t know how to express them or even know that it’s not really them, but that it’s the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
I’m slowly starting to notice a pattern in how my body operates and functions. I know this might sound naive, but I truly never noticed it before… well that is until now. I’m not sure if it is because my weeks are filled with work, boyfriend stuff, and when I have more energy than expected, I spend that on family and friend time. Lately this holiday season, well the fall season really, has been a busy one. I’m not complaining by any means, but man, ya girl is tired.
I’m noticing that I can survive the work weeks, I can’t say without pain or struggle, but I can say I survive them. By Friday night, I usually want to chillax and stay in. Maybe make a bourbon cider or four, do something fun with babe or watch Netflix. Specifically The Office or Peaky Blinders. By Saturday morning, usually breakfast in bed happens, or just snuggles a bit longer than normal. By Saturday afternoon or evening, if we don’t already have plans of some sort (separate or together) I’m ready for a little fun and some drinks if my body can handle it.. alcohol is still tricky as I’m sensitive to certain things. I can usually stay up quite late, and not be upset about it. By Sunday morning, it’s typically hit or miss but lately more often than not it’s a miss.
For example, yesterday was about a 15 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. I woke up already feeling emotional, didn’t really want to move but pushed through as much as I could. Here in Arizona, it’s been pretty dang cold. Like raining and 50 degrees cold. For us natives, anything below 90 is nice. Once it drops below 70, we’re bundled up in uggs, hoodies and thermal wear. For people like me that are dealing with Hashimoto’s, it’s not fun. We have a lower body temperature than others, and the cold sensitivity is real. In my experience, it makes it harder to function more often than not. I’m typically cold throughout the day, but this was a different kind of cold…
Waking up I immediately felt the shooting pain going from my hips to the tips of my toes. In my calf muscles, I felt like I had a thousand pins and needles being inserted all at once. My feet had that tingling feeling as if they were asleep, not the fuzzy tingle feeling, but the painful one. My hands were swollen and I could barely make a fist. I remember laying there as flat as I could, trying to take deep breaths. I knew eventually it would go away and I would be able to move and get out of bed, I just needed to keep breathing and not focus on it. Because I honestly thought to myself, “I’ll be damned if I spend another full day in bed.” You’re probably saying to yourself, ‘Girl, it’s okay. Just stay your ass in bed.’
The point is, it’s not okay.
I’m noticing this pattern. Sunday’s have been the day that my body decides to completely shut down and act up. It’s the day that I’m in so much pain it’s debilitating and borderline embarrassing. It’s the day that I can’t get anything done, because the strength it takes to get out of bed to use the bathroom is more than I can handle.
Sadly, that’s also the day emotions creep in. Call it depression or whatever you want. But having to try and manage your physical abilities is one thing, trying to manage what’s happening in your head is an entirely different battle. Both of which you have to fight at the same time.
I’ve been trying my best to handle these days as they come. To handle the physical pain as it comes and to manage the emotions that come along with it. When I’m in the presence of my boyfriend (I spend most of my weekends with him), it makes it a little harder because to be honest.. he didn’t sign up for any of this. Allowing him to see me in that state, at my true absolute worst, is so dang embarrassing. I hate myself for it. I feel like I look like a weak person who can’t do shit, that is too damn needy. And the idea of that hurts my heart and makes me feel so many things. I’m trying so hard to hide it when needed, to not be the girlfriend that he needs to wait hand and foot on. I’m trying so hard to not be a burden, to not be one more thing on his list he needs to take care of. I can only imagine how it makes him feel. Frankly, it kills me to even think of it. It must be so dang unattractive to witness it from his point of view. I mean, it must be … right?
[To be clear, he may not feel like this at all. I don’t know. I’m really too afraid to ask him how it makes him feel. I’m too afraid to ask him if he sees me differently and if it makes him less attracted to me. I’m afraid of the answer. So I avoid it, I swallow my fears and try to be the best version of me, for him. He deserves that and so much more. So much fucking more.]
This seriously can be so much to process and move through at once. At times I question the level of strength I have within me. The hard days are truly defeating in more ways that one. The good days are easy to hold on to, they’re keepsakes.
These patterns are starting to become more noticeable. The problem is figuring out how to disrupt them? How to work yourself out of the mental darkness while trying to honor your body physically and not push yourself too hard? Do you walk around all day with a full body heating pad attached to you, popping CBD gummies whenver you feel an ounce of pain creeping in or feel a tear that is about to fall from your face because the battle that’s also happening in your head is getting to you? Do just work through it when it comes, and keep to yourself? How do I protect him from having to deal with or see any of this?
All real and valid questions. Right?
I don’t know, maybe they aren’t. Or maybe they are? Maybe I’ll just keep trying to work through the pattern when it appears, and communicate what that’s like. Maybe that will help disrupt it. Maybe it won’t feel so embarrassing and I won’t seem so weak and helpless?
I don’t know the answer to any of this. I just know that these patterns are becoming more noticeable, and I want to do what I can within my power to disrupt them. I don’t want to feel so helpless, weak or constantly in pain.
Please know I’m not saying that this is or will be you, if you have Hashimoto’s. This is just my experience, and there’s a small chance you may feel it too. More specifically you may feel the extreme cold sensitivity and body aches/pains. Either way, please work with a medical professional if you experience ANY of this.
Again, please don’t be alarmed. This is just me, trying to put my experience to paper and hopefully it may help someone in their process. Maybe it won’t. Only God knows.
Either way, remind yourself that perhaps it’s not you my dear, it’s the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
Thanksgiving week is here. Let’s be honest, from November until the end of January is the best time of year. It’s filled with tons of delicious food, good vibes, so much love and all the pretty decorations. Growing up, I remember how much my (grand)dad loved this time of year. The amount of money we would spend at CostCo and Dillards or Macy’s was ridiculous. I’d also like to note that my (grand)mom didn’t have any limits, she legit does what she wants and he would just go with it. I think it’s because he knew it would make her happy and we all know he would go to the ends of the earth for her, on any given day.
For me, it’s a little different this year. Well let’s be honest, it’s a lot different this year. I love food. I’m a fat kid at heart and forever will be, trust me. I will say that I’m creature of habit, so getting me to try new foods may be a task… but sometimes it’s a true success. I say all of this because again, it’s Thanksgiving week. My southern roots come out strong this week and my belly is filled with all of the best soul food your heart could imagine. Nothing beats my mom and (grand)mom’s cooking. N O T H I N G.
Because of #HashimotosThyroiditis, I can’t eat most of it and will need to settle for a new normal. Ya girl has to get used to gluten free mac-n-cheese, gluten free dressing and watch the seasonings used on all the other goodness that will be prepared. The sensitivity is real and I refuse to spend the holla-day weekend all flared up. Be sure to check back after the holiday weekend, I’ll be sharing some of the recipes used and how I was able to handle the temptations.
What I wanted to share with you all, outside of my excitement for Thanksgiving, was the experience I had this morning.
Esophagram (Barium Swallow Test)
X-ray pictures taken of the esophagus, after a liquid known as barium is ingested. The liquid works to coat and outline the walls of the esophagus with the purpose of giving a clear picture of how the esophagus is working.
So this test was ordered by Dr. R (the ENT surgeon) because he’s convinced I have throat issues outside of the #thyroidproblems. From what I gathered from Dr. C (the new endocrinologist), he also agreed.
So why share this with you all?
A few reasons really. One, it’s a part of my journey and I get the strong feeling that there are many others whose journey looks a lot like mine. Two, because I also believe that by sharing my story, it will encourage others to seek answers assuming they may be experiencing things physically and don’t realize that it could be a thyroid issue or an esophagus issue.
The night before a test, maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s everyone, but I get real anxious. I’ve gotten to a point now that I never know what to expect. I never know if the test/procedure will bring me large amounts of pain or no pain at all or how much CBD oil I’ll need to take throughout the day to manage? Will I be incredibly exhausted after? Will I get results in that moment, but more so will this be another ongoing health issue I’ll have to manage??
For this test, I had to fast for 6 hours, you know thatprep work. In my mind it was 12, just to be safe. But at any rate, I couldn’t have any food or drinks (inclusive of water). The folks at the imaging site were incredibly nice and recognized it was super cold this morning, so did what they could to keep me warm.
Also, if you didn’t know this already… Hashimoto’s brings your body temperature low and can make you forever cold. Some days are easier than others. But more often than not, I’m so cold it hurts my bones and I feel like I have pins and needles running through my veins.
This mornings test took all of maybe 45 minutes to complete. You drink the liquid and they stand you up and lay you down to take the pictures while you’re swallowing. As gross as the barium was, the test was painless and after what I’ve been through lately, that’s all that mattered to me. Like I said, the test went quickly but that barium liquid… JEEEEZZZZUUUUUUSSSS it was disgusting. Salty, thick, and flavorless. I think it was the thickness that got to me. You’re also not allowed to burp. You start with water and this salt like mixture, it makes it really fizzy for when they take the first photo and then move onto the barium liquid. When all was said and done, they had me get dressed and urged that I drink large amounts of water to help wash it all down.
It’s crazy to think that there’s potentially an issue with my throat on top of my thyroid. Moving through this holiday, much like I’ve been operating these last few months, I have to be careful. Watching what I eat is one thing, watching how I eat is now becoming another. I’ve noticed that it takes me longer to eat my food, I always have to have water with me because food gets stuck often, and the heartburn and acid reflux… MANNNN I tell ya, that’s gnarly to get rid of at times. So maybe this test truly is needed? Maybe this test will give more answers? One can only hope, right?!
Who knows, maybe it’s not the autoimmune disease that is taking over my body this time. Perhaps it really is me?
It happened. It was a complete accident really. Or perhaps I was just a little too carefree over the weekend. But the fact of the matter is, I did it. I “gluetened” myself. Let me tell you, I’m totally paying for it too.
Did y’all know?! Gluten can trigger an autoimmune response?
I mean, gluten is found is most foods really and is definitely not the cause of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. But it does cause inflammation and tissue destruction. Let’s be honest, who in the heck wants to experience that on purpose???? I should also say this before I continue:As a reminder, I am not a licensed medical professional. Any information listed is by my own experience, research and guidance of my medical team. It is not necessary to preemptively remove foods from your diet unless otherwise directed by your medical professional(s).
Now. Let’s talk.
For those of us with thyroid problems, there are things that are strongly suggested to stay away from because the result of ingesting certain things can be really painful and can cause a “flare”.
A flare, for me, typically is a really rough couple of days. My flares cause bloating, muscle pain, the worst brain fog, I get super cold, low grade fevers and I become super unnecessarily anxious. I’m a hot mess really. On the inside as well as the outside.
When you have a thyroid issue, usually the first thing people cut out is the gluten. But there are other things at the top of the list too, such as: nightshades, grains, dairy, alcohol and caffeine. Sounds like all the best of the best things to have right? We know… trust me when I tell you I miss most of those every day. Now, everyone will react differently to each of those, and some folks may not have a reaction at all. It honestly depends on the person and other autoimmune diseases or food sensitivities they may have if any. Me, I have to stay away from pretty much every single one. Because Lord Jesus, let me tell you… recovery isn’t easy either.
The real question is, how do you come back from that? How in the heck do you “un-gluten” yourself? Seriously, what’s a girl to do when she feels like she has the energy of a sloth on xanax while laying in bed unable to move because of the pain in her tummy that also feels like she just ate 12 full size pizzas while indulging in all the junkfood while watching rubbish. *It’s a lot to process, I know. Just imagine how I feel in real life
The answer: rest, hydrate, and load up on supplements.
The naps will help you in the short and long term. Trust me. One thing I’ve for sure learned during this Hashimoto’s journey is that I need to rest when my body says so and do not fight it. It will only get worse if you don’t.
Hydrate. Sooooo, water is your best friend for so many reasons whether you have hashi or not. Aim to drink a minimum of 96 oz of water a day. If you have those trace mineral drops I’ve mentioned in previous posts, add those in as well. They’ll make sure you’re getting the nutrients you’re needing but will also help relieve the gas/bloating and potentially make you poop a lot. *Super gross to talk about, but let’s be adults here. We all do it. Including us girls, even though my boyfriend will argue and say otherwise
Supplements. We all take them. Sometimes we love them. Sometimes we forget them. Sometimes they bring us back to life. What I’ve found to be helpful is organic green tea, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Vitamin C. I’ve recently learned that you should invest in charcoal pills and digestive enzymes. Keep in mind that the charcoal pills will only help if you literally just ingested the gluten. When you’re having a delayed response/flare, they won’t help much.
Most supplements can be found on Amazon, but again if you’re not sure if you should take it, talk to your licensed medical professional first.
My problem was, like I said, that I was a little too carefree this weekend. The babe and I had our last wedding of the year to attend and he had friends in town for the celebration as well. So needless to say a lot of alcohol was consumed and really good food. I will say, it makes this lifestyle easier to get through when you’re surrounded with people who also have food sensitivities for their own health reasons. The taco bar at the wedding was clutch really as were the delicious gluten free donuts from Nami (a vegan joint here in Arizona). I think it happened really between the alcohol and the place we stopped at in between the wedding and reception, Cotton & Copper. SUPER AMAZING if you haven’t gone, highly recommend (Tempe, AZ). But I definitely ate some things I shouldn’t have and again… alcohol. I think my problem is I need to remember it’s okay to be the “sick girl” with the sensitive ass thyroid gland. I can still have fun and take care of myself at the same time…. right?!
Lessons, I learn a new one every day really.
At the end of the day remember, gluten happens and it’s okay. Just be sure to rest, hydrate and take allllllll the supplements. Your body and your gut essentially need to heal. So give it a few days and everything will be okay.
For now, just know that perhaps it’s not you per se, but actually it is and the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
Its been a hot minute since my last blog post. To be honest, I feel compelled to apologize for not updating everyone about what’s happening with me. Then the other half of me said to myself, “Tae, it’s fine. Take care of you first. If they truly love you, they’ll understand.”
Since getting back from the wedding in San Fran *see previous blog post: I felt beautiful* , we attended a wedding the weekend following and then I left for Denver (for work) the next day after. Needless to say, ya girl is tiiiiied. I’ve been more tired than normal and experiencing more feelings of anxiety and depression. Honestly that part has been amplified by 10, but I’m pushing through. Or at least trying to.
The past few weeks have been beautiful and hard to get through at the same time. To witness love, joy and growth in and with friends is a gift. The hard part is gathering the energy, fighting through the pain and trying to remember if you packed your glasses and contact lenses to be able witness it all. Even in Denver for a work conference, I smiled through every moment. Little did others know that after the day ended, I did what I could by drinking large amounts of water, giving myself a sugar rush and doubling up on supplements (magnesium, Vitamin C, prednisone *yes, I only took one a day of these..) just to be able to sit to have the long conversations we shared, the funny moments and drinks. Can’t forget the large amount of drinks. I’ve noticed that when I have an opportunity to experience any of those things, that I will suffer through whatever my body decides to put me through and soak up every beautiful moment. How I feel after… I’ll deal with it when it comes.
During the last few weeks I also had an appointment with the new endocrinologist, Dr. C. Y’all, I’ve never felt more validated and empowered during a doctor’s appointment in my life. I legit cried tears of joy.
First thing he said when he walked in was, “I heard you’ve had some not so great help in this Hashimoto’s journey. Let’s fix that.” My heart jumped and my body instantly relaxed a little. The appointment overall was amazing and he answered more questions in the 45 mintues I was with him, than the 3 or 4 appointments I had with Dr. E (the initial endocrinologist – see previous post “You’re Fired! NEXT”).
One thing that he kept repeating was that this Hashimoto’s diagnosis is a forever thing. But right after he said that, he kept saying he had the sense I’m a strong girl and will get through it. Y’all, I felt hella seen.
To cut through the rest of the story, the biggest pieces of information to really give you all from this visit: ~ I don’t need thyroid medication just yet. He plans to monitor things so they don’t become worse. ~ Listen to Dr. R (ENT surgeon), because he’s doing the right things in checking my throat outside of the thyroid issues. ~ Do NOT go back to Dr. E. ~ My thyroid is definitely causing allllll of my issues right now. It will get better and easier to manage. ~ I need to be tested for celiac disease. ~ The nodule found on my thyroid was a lot bigger than what Dr. E said it was. ~ I have a Vitamin D deficiency. I have been ordered to take meds 3 times a week for the next 3 months to try and increase my levels. #AnothaOne has been added to my “in home pharmacy”.
The next few months will be telling with Dr. C. and with Dr. R. I have more testing to come for my throat issues, so I’ll fill y’all in later on the results of it all.
My point in sharing all of this is to not only update you, but to also encourage you. For those who are suffering through Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or some other type of Autoimmune Disease, don’t give up. It gets hard. Some days are better than others. Just know the good days will come. Keep fighting to enjoy your life and keep fighting to stay healthy as you possibly can. Just don’t forget to listen to your body and rest.
One of the most heart breaking things about all of this is that not everyone will believe you when you tell them what you’re experiencing/how you feel. It hurts more when it’s your family or your doctor. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s pretty fucked up when your doctor won’t even believe you, right? I’ve experienced it but have also known many others to experience that too. And you know what, that’s okay!! They don’t have to believe you because you can and will find someone who does. And when you do, the feeling of relief, joy, warmth and validation will radiate through your body and the ball of emotions will pour out. Errr, at least for me it did. And frankly, I needed to feel that and I want you to feel that too. You deserve it.
Empowerment appears in so many forms & feeling empowered can come from any situation or person. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to fight for your health. Fight for the life you want to live. I empower you to be the boss babe I know you are and to handle every obstacle your body decides it wants to throw at you that day. And for the days you feel like you can’t handle it alone, don’t. Because you’re not alone. There are many others like me and YOU experiencing all of this too. All out here just living through this, walking with this, existing in this the absolute best way we can.
I was recently told by a dear friend to “Stack your bench”. We were talking about work, but I remember looking at him and telling him he just handed me pure gold. The more I thought about it the more I realized it also pertained to my current Hashimoto’s situation. It reminded me of this: ~ Ask all the questions. ~ Find the medical team who will believe you and listen to you. ~ Educate yourself on the things you’re experiencing and take the time to educate others so they’ll understand and know the truth. ~Be your own warrior & then let the rest of us support you as you move through this journey like the fighter that you are.
Don’t ever forget you are powerful, you are beautiful, you are brilliant and you are brave. Autoimmune diseases may take over your body, but it doesn’t have to take your spirit.
Still here trying to live my best Hashimoto’s life. I freely admit that I’m still in my feelings about the past weekend we spent in San Francisco & Bodega Bay, California. From the wedding (#GirlMeetsLloyd), to the most delicious seafood and new food, to the foggy/chilly weather (ya girl loves the cold, even though it hurts my bones), to spending as much time as I was blessed to with my boyfriend.
For the 4 days we were away, I honestly felt liberated. I felt free and without the label of the “sick girl”. I think the entire time only one person asked me about Hashimoto’s and my current battle with it but I expected it because I know they’re plugged into my story by way of my boyfriend. It was really sweet of her to ask really and she gave me a huge hug with loving words of encouragement to take with me as I continue to move through this journey.
It was nice to not feel like I was being micromanaged by people around me. It was nice to feel like I could pick up anything to eat or drink without someone asking me if it’s okay to do so and if I checked the label just in case. It was nice to not have time to take a nap because we were so busy with the wedding and hanging out with all of my boyfriends friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it more so than I probably verbalize when people around me are that plugged into my daily management of care. It makes me feel like my people around me really do care and are helping me pay attention to all of these changes and what I’m putting into my body. It just gets exhausting at times and can make me feel like such a burden.
Want to know what the best part of the weekend was?…
The moment of feeling beautiful.
I had enough energy and zero pain radiating through my body when it was time to get ready for the wedding. I was actually able to take a shower, shave my legs, take my time with hair and make-up… I got dolled up. And for the first time in a long while, I actually felt really beautiful.
I remember the exact moment when I felt it. I had just finished my hair and make-up (I kept it simple and bronzy because I felt like the dress was a statement enough). My boyfriend was ready and downstairs getting everyone to finish up their “pre-game drinks” and rounding up the crew to head to the venue. He topped and looked at me with the most validating smile and walked over and kissed me. He didn’t have to say it, but I knew what he wanted to say. His smile and the lingering look on his face told me everything I needed to know. And that my friends, was the best part of the weekend.
More days than not, I don’t feel “beautiful”. I feel really blah and frankly, I feel super basic. I’m the first one to tell you there’s nothing special about me. Honest truth. Since this diagnosis, and honestly years beforehand… I’ve had pretty low self-esteem. I’ve felt like an ugly duckling. My weight has been a huge issue to me for the longest time. No matter what programs I’ve tried, supplements I’ve taken or the number of eating habits I’ve changed… I’ve maintained this weight. Since cutting out gluten, dairy, grains and caffeine, I’ve been able to drop 15lbs. I have a feeling as I grow to become more strict about my “diet”, I presume I will lose more weight. Until that happens, I know I will continue to struggle with my weight. I can pin point so many other things I don’t like, or feel really self-conscious about. From my thinning/breaking hair, the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep, to my skin in general. So many other things I could go on about. It seems dumb I’m sure, but the way I see myself I promise you is much different than how others see me.
I know I will continue to struggle with my self-esteem. I will continue to struggle to navigate myself through anxiety and depression. Honestly I think it’s a never ending battle.
What most don’t know is one of many parts to having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the weight gain and depression. Sadly, those of us fighting this autoimmune disease can’t really control either of those two things. Don’t get me wrong, some days are easier than others. But most end up not only taking meds and supplements to help manage this disease, but often times medication will be prescribed to handle the depression as well as the anxiety.
If you’re really new to this, I don’t want to freak you out. But you need to know, in this regard the battle between the two will forever be yours.
I share all of this because this is a real part of the Hashimoto’s journey. A real part of my journey. Some times you’ll feel like you need to take a vacation from life and enjoy that vacation without having to worry about every little thing. Sometimes you need that vacation to feel liberated. Sometimes you need that vacation to feel normal around your friends, as if you truly belong. Sometimes you need that vacation to feel absolutely beautiful.
And sometimes, that vacation will absolutely give you all of that and so much more you didn’t realize your soul needed.
If you’re reading this, go plan your next vacation. Whether it be a weekend or a duration longer than that. Plan it with your loved ones, your friends, or maybe just you and your partner go off the grid for a few days. Beforehand you’ll stress a little, that’s for sure, but once your at your destination… let it all go. Do whatever you want that makes you feel beautiful. And when that moment happens, take it in. Feel the emotions. Take a picture of yourself in that moment, so when you go back and reflect on the time spent away you’ll remember that exact moment. How you looked, how you felt, and remind yourself that is the real you. Even on the days you don’t feel like it, it is you. I promise.
Until then, don’t forget that you are a fighter. Some days will be harder than others when fighting against this autoimmune disease. The days will come when it gets better.
Right now, perhaps it’s not you per se, but actually, it is and the AID that is taking over.
Today is my first time traveling post-Hashi diagnosis. The task was large because again, brain fog is a real thing as is the lack of energy when you’re incredibly tired and your body just hurts. Everywhere.
I’m actually super excited for this trip and look forward to the next few days. We are in San Francisco for a friends wedding. I’ve never visited SF so I’m a first timer and I’m just so dang excited, for a few reasons really. First, give me all the food. Seafood to be specific. Being so close to the coast it just tastes different, at least from my east coast experiences it has. Second, sweater weather. I absolutely love it. Lastly, I’m excited to be somewhere new, exploring the city with my bf and having a few days without worry and not having the label of being “the sick girl”. I plan to soak up these days and all the positive vibes until my heart can’t take it. I think it’ll be a great weekend ahead.
Traveling. We all know can be annoying and sometimes stressful. In my case today, it was a glimpse of a new normal. Usually I pack things the night before after I’ve laid out all of my outfits and things needed because I have a running list in my head. This time I had to make a list and I’m pretty sure I still forgot important things. You know like, a phone charger, deodorant, socks and perhaps even a thick, long-sleeve shirt. But fingers crossed I’ll make it through the weekend.
In general, I wake up and head in about an hour before my flight and usually grab snacks at the restaurants inside the airport for the flight. Snacks are typically something sweet, something salty to counteract the sweet and water. Every now and then I’d also get an energy drink. This time, I remembered as I was walking to grab a snack that I can’t do that anymore. Did you know that caffeine irritates your thyroid? Especially if you have Hashimoto’s, it’s like a HUGE no-no. My flight was pretty early this morning so I just had to stick with water because I couldn’t find any good hot tea. Then I was trying to figure out breakfast and snacks. It dawned on me, the airport does NOT carry gluten free options like all other places do. Sure, I can find an overpriced granola bar and maybe a fresh fruit but that’s about it. What gives? I’m really hoping the airport gets it together and starts offering more options. Just saying. A girl would love a pressed juicery and maybe even a flowerchild. Sky Harbor, you’re welcome for the idea.
Keeping myself occupied between boarding flights and borderline starving, I brought a few reads with me to help pass the time. This one in particular was loaned to me when I was first diagnosed by a friend who, unbeknownst to me, also has Hashimoto’s and has since she was 19 (we’re in our 30’s now). This book itself has been really helpful into understanding this autoimmune disease but also informative to what I should be looking for in regards to my own body.
If you haven’t picked it up, you should. It may help you in your journey.
Bags are now coming on the claim belt so I’m going to get started on having an amazing bae-cation weekend while attempting to live my best Hashimoto’s life. You should too, go do something fun this weekend. You deserve it.
I think it’s no coincidence that yesterday, marked 5 years since my Dr.’s (Dr. B the neurologist, Dr. A the PCP, Dr. B the optometrist & Dr. P the ophthalmologist) who confirmed that I was tumor free.
5-6 years ago I was experiencing these weird black outs. My vision was blurry all the time, I had crazy headaches, nauseous all the time and felt like I had serious vertigo. After telling my PCP, he had me check in with my eye doc. Given my history of meningitis (2 time survivor y’all), he wanted me to see a neurologist. Long story short after many tests and scans, they located something called a psuedotumor that was pushing on my optic nerve causing alllllllllll the problems.
A psuedotumor is something that mimics a tumor but is not an actual tumor. After months of treatment and a million appointments, it got better and continued to get better.
Then on October 7, 2014, they told me the size reduced itself and would no longer be a threat.
I remember that day, and that moment. I celebrated it like no body’s business by having a 4 minute dance party in my car, and then called my bf (at the time) and my parents and shared the good news. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulder and that I could officially go on to live my best life.
Fast forward to October 7, 2019. Appointment with Dr. R, ENT surgeon, to get my biopsy results. To my surprise they came in quick, being that I had the biopsy on Thursday, October 3. For some reason I thought it would take longer. Then with the uncontrollable anxiety, I feared if the results came in too quick, that must mean they found the cancer in the nodule and then… you know. Life.
Over the course of a few days after #biopsyday I tried my best to be comfortable, to carry on, not think although my anxiety can get the best of me, and to thank God for all the problems I don’t have.
Monday, October 7, 2019 it was confirmed that I don’t have cancer! The nodule samples came back benign. HALLELUJAH, thank you JESUS! There are still so many answers to get, more tests to undergo and more meds to take. But y’all, I don’t have cancer and at this moment, that is all that matters to me.
I have to celebrate every tiny victory and catch those dubs when I can. And honey, let me tell you God is so dang good.
Again, I don’t think it was a coincidence that on the same day 5 years prior I received similar news. God may bring me to things that are super difficult and painful, but God also brings me THROUGH things that are super difficult and painful. Every day I learn that it is only making me stronger. And for that, I am truly blessed and highly favored.
There’s so much more I could talk about in reference to the biopsy procedure itself, that I briefly described in the previous post “The Hard Parts…”, but will eventually share what the recovery has been like thereafter. For now, let’s leave the good news here and end on that. Because, damn, it’s really good news.
For those of you still going through this, keep fighting. The good news will come. While you’re along the way, don’t forget to celebrate every tiny victory. Yes, the autoimmune disease is taking over, but baby, some days it will take a seat and let you catch those w’s.
“What’s coming will come and we’ll face it when it does.”
Hagrid, Harry Potter
The hard parts are the scariest parts. They are the parts where you feel like you have absolutely no control over your emotions, your body or the situation you’re in. The hard parts take so much out of you. The hard parts is where all of your fear decides to come out to play at once, hitting you like a ton of bricks. The hard parts are sometimes uncomfortable and always painful in one way or another. The hard parts feel like they take a million years to move through, when in reality it’s less than 15 minutes.
The hard parts force you to drum up every ounce of courage, faith and strength.
The hard parts are the scariest parts.
Today was biopsy day. In case you haven’t read previous posts (shameless plug, please do… they’re really great blog posts), I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is also known as Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis. It is where my immune system attacks my thyroid, or otherwise destroys it. Along with this autoimmune disease diagnosis, I have a goiter and nodules. A goiter is what your thyroid is called when it becomes enlarged, and the nodules are little mini tumors. They aren’t always cancerous, but once they grow to a certain size, they are required to be biopsied.
So today was that day.
The journey here was annoying and frustrating after hours on the phone between the testing facility, the surgeons office and my insurance company… I’ll spare the details of all of that and skip to the “meat and potatoes” of this post.
The hard part of it all was trying to be strong and not seem like I was completely terrified. Waking up this morning, my heart was racing, I silently said my prayers while crying, and snuggled with my boyfriend as long as I could. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but this morning I needed to feel all of that. I needed to feel all of that, emotionally and physically, so that I can go on about my day telling this mountain I’m about to climb about my GOD. He is a healer, among many other things, he is absolutely amazing.
Driving to work, was silent. Probably so silent you could hear a pin drop. Moving through my morning meeting and then trying to get everything in order after that, well, that was a task. My mind could not stop being everywhere but where it actually needed to be. My heart wouldn’t stop racing. My stomach was in knots. The crazy part is that no one knew at my office outside of my boss and an ex-cowoker & now close friend, Ulonda, knew that I was having the procedure. Everyone around me probably thought it was just another day. But … it wasn’t though.
Again, did what I could to get through my morning, and left my office about halfway through the day. Came home to shower, I hoped the steam and a little bit of eucalyptus oil would help calm me. BTW, it didn’t. My boyfriend picked me up to drive me, and off we went to the facility for the procedure.
I’m thankful for him, for not only being there for me, but also for him doing all that he could to try is distract me and keep me calm. I knew he could sense my anxiety and fear. Side note: I swear he’s like a shark when it comes to me, and can sense things before I even say or do anything, he’s really intuitive when it comes to me… but that’s a conversation for another day.
It’s now my turn and they call me back.
The hard part is trying to be brave and tell yourself “it’s almost over”. Walking back, getting instructions on how the procedure will go and preparing your body for the trauma it is about to endure. The hard part is trying not to think of all the “what if’s” and to just be present for the “now”.
The procedure itself took less than 20 minutes and in my case, the doctor only look 5 samples of the nodules. It started with another ultrasound, so the goiter in my neck was moved around and pressed upon… again. From there they were able to capture images for the location of the nodule. The doctor used that as a guide. He explained to me that the first poke I would feel was a pinch. He was right. It was a very precise painful pinch. He said the next poke I would feel is a burning sensation. Again, he was right. It wasn’t necessarily burning, I would more describe it as the itchiest, most painful amount of rubbing alcohol one could ingest. (I don’t know what that’s like, but I can only assume). Then the next pokes would be some pressure but mainly uncomfortable, but no pain. Here he was half wrong. The local anesthetic helped, for sure, but the pressure wasn’t just uncomfortable, but it was actually painful. Breathing and swallowing was so difficult, and I was still crying hysterically trying to be brave and get through it. The nurse also in the room was the sweetest older gentleman who held my hand and was counting down for me to try and distract me.
Finally, it was over. The doctor was very understanding of my fear, anxiety and tears. He explained that the hard part was over, and now I just needed to rest and wait for the results to come back. He said he understood how I felt in that moment, and felt bad that I had to go through it. But he wished me well and said to call if I experienced any issues.
There’s so much more about this experience I could explain, but my reason for sharing it with you is to make sure you knew you’re not alone. To make sure anyone else who is going through this knows that it’s okay to be fearful, to be anxious, to be scared for all the reasons you know you shouldn’t be but are. It’s okay to cry. And by cry I mean the ugliest of the ugly cry. Because honestly, it’s a lot to process. Sure the procedure doesn’t take long, and you are completely awake for it, but that doesn’t make it any less scary.
The hard part is having to defend why you’re scared, because for some, it’s not so obvious. Being scared of what’s happening now is okay. You’re going to feel like a walking science experiment. You’re going to feel helpless at times. You’re going to feel more exhausted than you ever have. But please don’t forget, you’re going to get through this. The hard part is not thinking of every worse case scenario that could happen, because we don’t know yet. We don’t have the answers we are hoping for, and it will take more time to get them. But it’s okay. For now, rest in your faith knowing that God’s got you. Now and always. The hard part is being okay with being somewhat freaked out for the days to come.
Who knows what these results may bring. Maybe all of my fear and anxiety will have been for nothing, and turns out there isn’t cancer? Maybe all of my fear and anxiety will be justified because there is cancer? We don’t know. I don’t know. The hard part is waiting to find out.
Until then, my anxiety will be high but of course I’ll try to manage it with some serious prayer for strength and peace… but also CBD oil. I’ll continue to ice the site with a cold pack and take Tylenol if the pain becomes too much. I will rest as much as I can and try not to talk, because honestly… this hurts so bad.
Results will come and we will face it when they do.
So drink all the water, snuggle in bed and binge watch all the Netflix you can tolerate until the pain subsides. Just remember my darling, perhaps, it’s not you per se. But actually, it is, and the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
One of the things that I’m realizing as I continue to adapt to all of this and learn what’s best for me and my body versus what isn’t, is that there will be so much that “they” don’t know. By “they”, I mean everyone around me. This isn’t to be a negative Nancy or aggressive Alfred, this is more of being honest Helen.
“Strong women wear their pain like stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.”
As more time passes, more people are becoming aware of my story. Whether it’s because of social media, or hearing through the grape vine, or simply asking me what is wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to share it. All of it really. My strengths, my weaknesses, the good parts and bad. There’s so many layers to this, sometimes explaining it even becomes exhausting. But I do my best and will happily answer any questions.
For the past few weeks, I’ve had numerous people come to me and say, “Are you okay? You’ve seem to have lost your spark. I miss seeing that in you”. As much as it kills me to hear that, I often reply “I promise, I’ll be fine. I miss it too, but I’m trying to get it back.” Then that usually becomes a deeper conversation and I open up about my current diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. So much more will occur in that conversation, support is exchanged, feelings are shared and it all usually ends in a long hug and a “I’m here for you, whatever you need.” That always warms my soul because I know when someone actually means it.
Once I explain my story, my daily routine including the struggles and easy parts, that’s when you notice the change in their questions. That’s when you notice that they truly begin to understand why you haven’t “seemed okay” for awhile. Now it all makes sense to them.
They will most likely tell you that now they understand why you look so tired, and they’ve noticed that you’ve been working from home a lot more, or friends will say they get why you cancelled so much on them. It all makes sense to them.
Soon after that, questions will start rolling in about how you’re maintaining or how you’re processing everything. My reply is typically, “It can be much worse, and I count my blessings. Eventually everything will be better. For now, I just have to work through it”. Compliments will then follow, like “You’re so brave and strong”, or “I know this is really rough but seeing your smile and knowing that your spirits aren’t completely broken is comforting”, lately more than ever I’ve been told “Tae, you’re so beautiful, I hope you remember that”. I’m grateful for moments like those shared with genuine people. It’s more healing than they probably realize, because I feel seen.
“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones.”
What they don’t know is this: Every morning I wake up around 6:30/6:45 a.m., I usually lay in bed until about 7 a.m. This is because if I move too quickly, the pain from my feet and legs, will shoot through my hips bringing me to damn near tears. I have to typically sit up for a minute and move my neck and arms around in hopes to stop the burning sensation as well as the shooting pain in the tips of my fingers. My neck, well, there’s no comfortable way to exist at the moment because I always feel like I’m either choking or something is caught in it. From there, I make my way to my bathroom to weigh myself and take my temperature. With Hashimoto’s it’s easy to gain or lose weight. In my case, since the beginning of September I’ve lost about 12 lbs, and remain steady. If I have large amounts of water the day before, I will drop a few ounces. Taking my temperature is because another part of this is that my base temperature may be lower than average. By measuring this daily, it will help measure my thyroid gland status. When/if they put me on meds, it will help in determining if medications are helping regulate it. Taking my showers… thank gosh my water is included in my rent. I’m afraid to know what the bill would be without it. Hot water showers, like steaming hot, are so dang helpful. It helps loosen my muscles and relaxes my body. They’re essential to getting my day started really. From there, I get ready. Hair, Make up, Moisturize my skin so my black doesn’t crack… you know, the works. Moving into preparing to leave for the day. I have a hot cup of green tea, with a scoop of collagen peptides. This is followed by a 6oz glass with a lion’s mane mixture. Then another 6 oz. glass with a magnesium fizzy tablet. Then by a 12-16.9 oz bottle of water mixed with 10-20 drops of trace minerals. Lastly, I’ll take one pill of omerprazole (generic equivalen for prilosec).
Also, as needed, a few drops of CBD oil.
What they don’t know is, every morning I need to take these things to help me function. What they don’t know is, more will be coming as we navigate through this. What they don’t know is, even though these things help me function… every moment is still a battle with my own body.
Omerprazole (aka Prilosec) was prescribed to me about a week ago from Dr. R., the ENT surgeon. This is to help with the “extensive damage” done to my throat by acid reflux. I also have to take another pill at night, Ranitidine (aka Zantac).
Lion’s Mane was suggested to help boost my immunity, reduce inflammation and help with mood and cognitive performance. Brain fog y’all…. it’s something else. Lemme tell ya.
Magnesium fizzy tables were also suggested to help with heart health, energy and mood. Take one in the morning and one at night. Thankfully, it helps me sleep pretty heavy when I’m not in pain or anxious.
Trace Mineral Drops helps ensure you’re getting ionic trace minerals and supports a healthy gut and overall system.
The CBD Oil (without THC), that’s super new. Lately it’s been helping with my constant anxiety. A few times these last 2 weeks I’ve taken it during the day at work to help take my mind off the pain and help me focus.
All of these things is what they don’t know. I’ve noticed the difference when I don’t take the supplements, so taking them every day is my only option. Taking them everyday helps me keep that smile, that spark and the bright spirit. Every day is a battle with my own body, and as of right now, these supplements are helping me win.
Every morning I have a mini pep talk with myself. I remind myself that I’m stronger than whatever the devil is trying to throw at me that day, that it will be a good day, and if I say my prayers and keep smiling, it won’t be that bad. I remind myself that the rough part won’t last forever, and eventually it will get better. It will get easier.
So for now, hold onto those good days. Embrace the bad days. Be open about your struggles, but also don’t make it all about you all the time. Take your supplements. Say your prayers. Smile even when it hurts. They may not know the amount of strength it took for you to get to that moment of your day to have that conversation with you, but it’s okay. They don’t have to know it. You know it and it is your decision to share it with others or not because, strong women wear their pain like stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.
It will get easier. You will get stronger. And one day you’ll look back on this and be glad you shared your story with so many others. Until then…
Perhaps, it’s not you per se, but actually, it is & the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
Eventually, everything will be okay. Eventually, people will believe you when you say that everyday is a struggle with your own body. Eventually, the medical system will not fail you, they will do better. Eventually, you’ll feel better. Eventually, they’ll realize you’re not crazy, and will feel bad for even saying or thinking it about you. Eventually, everyone will know this is a marathon and every day you’re trying not to fall behind. Eventually, the pain will stop. Eventually, the new dietary restrictions will be normal and not such a big deal. Eventually, you’ll find the right supplements and medications to survive and function like a normal human. Eventually, you won’t feel like a burden and you’ll be surrounded with never ending support. Eventually, you’ll feel like you again. Eventually, everything will be okay.
I’m still here y’all. Trying to navigate through my new Hashimotos normal and live my best life. Lately, I’ve been telling myself “eventually“. You fill in the blank as to ‘eventually what?’. There are so many things I look forward to, so many things I hope for, and so many things I pray for strength to fight through.
I truly know my own strength as a human, and know that I am incredibly resilient as a woman. My power, our power, is truly infinite. We have to remember that.
But, right now, in these moments, it is so damn frustrating. I feel as though I’m moving through the days barely remembering anything, managing pain the best way I can, and just waiting for answers. Answers to help me figure out if the pain will go away, answers on how to manage this, answers how to feel like a normal functioning human again. I just need answers.
Unfortunately, they have not come yet, and I’m afraid of the time to come.
Yesterday was the appointment with the ENT surgeon, Dr. R. I left crying, confused, frustrated and defeated. Again. It’s really a never ending feeling these days, but eventually I’ll feel the opposite of that.
Here’s the summary from that appointment: My voice is now being effected by this, he noticed it right off the bat. He questioned me about acid reflux. I admitted that I’ve experienced that more often than not and stay way from acidic foods. His response was to prescribe me with acid reflux meds, 2 different ones taken at the same time. He stuck a probe down my nose to look at my throat and said what he saw wasn’t good. He pushed on my neck, around my goiter and said he felt it and said it will get worse. Without even doing a biopsy to see the condition of the goiter and nodules previously found, recommended a partial thyroidectomy. Explained that while I’m under, and on the table, they would send the one side to the lab to check for cancer and if it came back clean, he would close me up and I’d have half of a thyroid gland. If it came back cancerous, he stated he would then remove the rest and try to get it cleared out and then work towards next courses of action to ensure it’s all gone.
He tried to push for the biopsy that same day/time. First, um no. I’m alone, no one with me and this is scary enough as it is. He stated he recognized I was an anxious alex and asked what was wrong. —-whhhheeeeetttt???? What the *#@! you mean what’s wrong?! Bruhhhh, in less than one month I’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, poked, prodded and also told I have a mass on my left tit and nodules on my now swelling thryoid, which is also now classified as a goiter. Every doctor I’ve seen thus far has NOT been helpful and I feel like I’m not processing a damn thing because so much is being thrown at me at once but also a side effect of Hashimoto’s is brain fog and cognitive dysfunctions (varies on the person). All the while I’m trying to maintain my sanity, drink all the water, defend my current diagnosis and daily status to some people, stay away from gluten, be a bad ass and do what I can to support my community in ending homelessness, rest when I can, be a good girlfriend, maintain my amazing friendships, get my school work completed on time while ensuring it makes sense (again brain fog) and be a present sister/sister-in-law/daughter/grand-daughter/dog mom/cousin/auntie/God mom…. But I mean, other than that… I’M FINE! So, once I moved passed that dumb question with him, I opted to have the biopsy completed at the lab on a day I’m prepared to do so.
Seriously, it made alllllll of my anxiety so much worse than it already was. So I accepted the 2 new prescriptions for acid reflux and scheduled my follow up appointment and am still currently waiting for the lab to schedule my biopsy and went back to work to get on with my day.
Eventually, it will get better. I will get better. This will all become much easier to navigate. Eventually.
In the meantime, don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re crazy. Don’t let anyone around you who doesn’t support you in this process, who doesn’t understand the frustrations and doesn’t offer to be your rock when you need it. Because I promise you, you need all of that to get through any of this.
It’s so easy to feel defeated. It’s really easy to fall into places where it becomes ten times harder to pick yourself up from. I promise, eventually, everything will be okay. Just keep going.
I carry around a little notepad with me and in this notepad is all of my questions. All of the tips/pointers I’ve been told by other people who are going through this to watch out for. It even has topics I want to write for this blog. My purpose in sharing my journey and anything else that I can is to help. To help remind you that eventually you’ll feel like you again.
Once I found out I had Hashimoto’s, I went straight to the internet. In hopes of finding some sort of support and things to help me manage this. Thankfully I did, there are facebook groups that you can join full of people from all over that are incredibly helpful, supportive and full advice from their research and experiences. Search for it, you won’t regret it. I also found an app, called Boost Thyroid. It helps me track my daily weight (which I’ve lost a little over 12 lbs in 20 days), but also my symptoms. It allows you to measure your pain scale daily, enter in your lab results but also let you track what supplements and meds you’ve taken. It does produce a run chart report for you as well so show trends/averages. If you’re battling thyroid issues and have not used this app, try it. It might help.
I say all of this because eventually all the pain you’re experiencing, all of the isolation, all of the anxiety and fear will be a thing of the past. Eventually you’ll have more good days than bad, you’ll treat yourself to the most delicious gluten free snack and fruit plate and you’ll sit back relaxing knowing that you are seen. Eventually that day will come, for you and for me. Until then, there will be more bad days than good and more confusion and frustration than clarity and joy. Just hold on. Lean on the rest of us. We’ve been there too, we’ve got you, we see you.
For now, move through it. Get through the bad days. Cry when you feel like you’re not getting the answers you hoped for. Once you’ve let the frustration out, work to get the answers you need.
Eventually you’ll get all of your strength back and show the world that your crown never fell, you’ve always been this queen. Until then, perhaps my queen, everything you’re feeling right now… it’s not you per se. But actually it is, and the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
Let’s start this off with good news. I don’t have Addison’s disease. The tests came back, see previous blog post “B R E A T H E” to get up to speed, and the only explanation they have for my adrenal levels being alarming is because my body is currently out of whack.
At this point, I’ll take it. AID, you’re currently winning; Hashimoto’s 384, Tae 1.
Unfortunately, that’s all the good news I have. Although, hearing that was a huge relief, that’s were the joy ended and frustration and searing anger began to come out to play. It was a rough day.
Let’s start with the appointment itself. It was scheduled for 9:15a, as I typically schedule all my appointments for early Wednesday mornings. It’s easier because I’m able to telecommute from work, and I usually sign on early, leave for the appointment and then come back and work until about 5 or 6p. On Wednesday’s I also spend the day at my (grand)parents house. Side note: My (grand)mom isn’t able to fully care for herself at the moment due to recent health scares/issues. So Wednesday’s are my days to be with her. The fam and I got together and we made a calendar to help split shifts and share duties. She’s the matriarch, it’s the least we can do.
I get to my appointment and sign in, and sit and wait to go back to hear my test results and figure out what steps. I brought my notebook with me, actually I carry it everywhere honestly, filled with questions about Hashimoto’s, testing and medications/supplements. I’ve also been documenting my weight loss, daily symptoms and supplement intake, I wanted to show him and see if anything I was doing was wrong or should be watching out for.
9:15 a.m. was my appointment time. But someone, any one, please tell me whyyyy I didn’t get called back until 10 a.m. Then sat in the room with the pulse ox monitor on my finger until 10:15 a.m. when the MA came in to take my blood pressure. Obviously it was high because I was so irritated, and it was only getting worse. Then the doctor didn’t come into the exam room until 10:25 a.m.
Not only did he not answer any of my questions with enough information to give me clarity, he also was trying to rush me. Mind you, my questions were pretty serious, such as: “Do you think the burning sensation I have on my entire left side is related to this, or is it something different we should watch out for?”. “If I don’t have Addison’s, why do you think my adrenals were so low and alarming? Am I doing something to cause that?” “According to my lab results, my white blood cell count seems to be all over the place. Is that normal for this?”
Soooo…you know, I’m asking all the important questions. But the answers I received were basically telling me he doesn’t know and I need to go back to my PCP. In the meantime, here’s a referral to see the ENT surgeon, and I’ll draw more labs on you and see you next month.
What. The. Fiiiiat?!!!!
Remember, searing anger.
I asked him if he was going to help me figure this out right the eff now, and he said he wanted to draw another lab test for my full thyroid panel and we can discuss when I see him next month.
Let me tell you, the amount of pisstivity I was experiencing was high and there was no turning back. But i also remembered that Jesus saved me, and I needed to keep my mouth shut and be an agent of grace. Because, I think that was a sign from God telling me, that’s not where I need to be and soon he would lead me in the right direction.
So, I stat down, got my labs and walked out. Called my boyfriend immediately to vent, and then drove to my parents house to finish out my day.
I allowed my soul to be irritated for about 2 hours before I had to get my big girl pants on and figure out how to rectify this.
I started with recommendations I have been receiving from friends for specialists they’ve worked with. One in specific, was a functional medicine doctor aka naturopath. I’ve heard great things, and this doctor in specific has been helpful to a friend who is also working through Hashimoto’s, as well as other things.
So I called to make an appointment, and I learned a lot. First, Functional Medicine Doctor’s are great. They are innovative, they are working in cutting edge research and treatments for different conditions. They are empathetic to what you are feeling, as most of them have experienced it themselves in some way or another. They also provide more of a natural healing response as opposed to western medicine. But here’s what they don’t tell you, unless you call to schedule an appointment as a new patient. They are not connected to insurances, so they are a “Fee for Service”. Meaning, it is all out of pocket costs. Some office fee’s vary, but I called about 4 different offices yesterday. Each told me their initial visits were about $400-600, follow up visits were $150-$300, just to initially look at my medical history and current diagnosis is about $150, and obviously medications and tests thereafter would be additional fees.
What the WWHAATT?? I was just blown away and didn’t expect it. Also a lot to take in when you’re already emotional from having to accept and start to make changes to life because of this disease and feeling completely dismissed by the person who was technically “hired” to help you figure it out.
Do your research. Seriously. If you’re living with Hashimoto’s and can afford that kind of care, and feel as though your current medical team isn’t working for you or with you. Research all options and go with what your gut tells you. You’ll eventually find the answer. Because, I think I did. After getting a grip on reality, I was able to find a highly recommended doctor through the Az Endocrinology Center. Sucks that I can’t get in until the end of October, but at this point, that’s much better than going back to Dr. E. Who, by the way, has been fired from my medical team, I just don’t know if he’s aware or not. Best believe he will be as I blow up the internet with my reviews of his practice. Why I didn’t check Dr. E’s reviews in the first place, I’m not sure. But I wish I had because they’re atrocious.
I also checked the reviews of the ENT surgeon he referred me to, he too, is highly recommended. So fingers crossed when I go to him this coming Monday for my consult, he helps ya girl out and isn’t a complete dick.
I share all of this for a few reasons: 1. The blog is about me and my journey, so there’s that. 2. Sharing is caring. I never want anyone to experience medical care like I did, especially when you are newly diagnosed with fear, anxiety and a million and one unanswered questions. Trust me, I get it. 3. Remember, it’s heavy. It’s all very heavy. But have faith, because it will get lighter. The devil is a liar and God will serve you truth and comfort. 4. Advocate for yourself. If you know you’re not getting the right care, or not feeling right about yourself. Advocate. Speak up. Research. And do what’s best for you by getting the right help that is best for you. Make them listen. Make them help you. Because we deserve relief, we all do. And they’re the qualified professional that has been chosen to help you get it.
If you’re reading this and have felt something similar, keep your head up. The lighter days are coming. Put the heavy stuff down, and push through what’s left so the lighter days will come sooner rather than later.
Don’t let one crap doctor steer you from getting the answers and help you need.
Don’t let the devil (or anxiety or depression) lie to you and say it’s all in your head. Because IT’S NOT! I promise, it’s not. We all feel it too.
Today, I want you to tell your mountain about God. Take your supplements, grab your CBD lotion, and get your heating pad. Once you crawl in bed and get comfy, start your research and let that weight fall off. Let that weight fall of because it’s heavy and you don’t need to carry that. Sometimes finding the right medical doctor/team will take a few failed appointments. But you will get there. Don’t stop advocating for yourself. Don’t stop speaking up. Allow yourself those couple minutes or hours to be irritated to your core, and then sack up and look for your next option. It may just be better than the first.
Until you find the relief and the medical team to treat this, there are going to be some mountains you will have to climb, some lies you will be tricked into believing, and some some jerks you’ll have to fire. Perhaps my love, it’s not you per se. But actually it is, and the autoimmune disease that’s taking over.
Goals. We all have them. We all try to achieve them. We all look forward to that moment when we do. Goals are important. I honestly believe they are what fuel us.
Every day, I strive to be a better human than I was the day before. Each day is a new day to do better, love better and be better. Don’t waste it.
Goals, keep going.
One of my biggest goals, is to finally finish school with my B.S.W. Fingers crossed I make it to that finish line next fall, then maybe my MSW . Let’s take it one thing at a time (wink). Honestly, I feel like the only thing that could hold me back is Hashimoto’s. But let’s be honest here, I won’t let it. Sure, some days are harder than others and my symptom’s can be all over the place. That doesn’t mean that while I’m laying in bed, trying to rest, that I can’t also read a few chapters. Or I can’t start preparing for my next discussion board post or brief assignment, right?
Working a full time job and going to school is a lot to balance sometimes. I get tired really easy and mentally exhausted.
Having a career where you not only have the privilege to work with phenomenal people, but also get to work with the brightest minds within Maricopa County to end homelessness… that takes dedication and a loooot of mental capacity. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a Human Services Planner. I get to work with an amazing team and even more dope community. We facilitate efforts to end homelessness for all populations (youth, veterans, families, etc.). The job takes a lot out of me personally, but I’m also an empath. So, I can’t really blame anyone for that but myself. Going to school to finish by B.S.W. was a dream long before landing at this place in my career. Now, I have the chance to make it a reality and I won’t let anything stop me.
Getting to this point has been rough, for so many reasons I won’t get into. But like I said, now that I’m here, I won’t let anything stop me. Not even Hashimoto’s or any other autoimmune disease the universe decides to throw at me.
I say all of this, because dreams can be more. They can be a reality. All you have to do is keep working towards it and for it. One day all of your hard work will pay off. One day you’ll reflect on all of the frustration you once felt, on all the road blocks you pushed through and all the tears you’ve shed and it will be worth it. So damn worth it.
Sure, having Hashimoto’s is and can be painful. Other common symptoms are extreme fatigue (in my case, uncontrollable at times. I swear I can take at least 3 naps a day and STILL be tired), muscle and joint pain, brain fog, confusion, cold sensitivity, anxiety and/or depression. But having all of these things, some days are worse than others, doesn’t mean I can’t try my hardest to function as a normal human. It doesn’t mean that my quality of life has to diminish because this wants to take over my entire body without warning. Having all of this doesn’t kill us, it truly just makes us stronger.
So if you’re reading this, and living with Hashimoto’s too, or any other autoimmune disease for that matter… Keep going. Get up, go get your supplements and a huge glass of water. Fuel your body with goodness and then go hit those books. Or whatever things you need to achieve your goal. Remember you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. You are stronger than this. We are stronger than AID.
I’m rooting for you, always. Don’t ever forget that.
Now excuse me while I sign off to get a magnesium tablet and get into this group discussion board assignment.